Data Define Daytona Drivers Destiny


Modern Race Cars performance is increasingly dependent on the continuous and rapid collection, interpretation and analysis of very large amounts of data.

A few weeks ago NASCAR teams held their Daytona pre-season thunder to fine tune their new cars. But what does NASCAR evaluate and how do the race car teams get the race car performance data to and from the track to their headquarters?

Car racing today is about outperforming your competitors on very small details. Chassis and engines are similar and 1/100 and 1/1000 of seconds are chased in the detailed tuning of tire pressures, angles, suspension and aerodynamic details. This year, NASCAR is introducing a completely new generation of a car. Understanding how the new car will behave on the track will be critical for success.

As a complement to regular measurements, teams this time used action cameras placed in strategic locations on the cars for filming during testing. Cameras were placed by the side pods, close to the ground, under the floor to capture the rear suspensions, and in the wheel houses to watch tires in action. The films provide high resolution views and details on how the car performs. (Filming is only allowed during testing. During practices and the real race, data is collected from various sensors.)

All data generated from the filming is analyzed after each session. Some data can be analyzed at the track, some needs to be sent to team headquarters for analysis. Most teams use laptops with wireless data cards and rely on the mobile network for transmitting the data. Ericsson sees large spikes in upstream data traffic from the teams immediately after a filming session has been completed. This raises the bar on network performance, its reliability and throughput, so no time is wasted in order for the teams to get their data analyzed.

My predictions for the future: * Telemetry data from race cars will continue to grow quickly and is a good example of how the Big Data movement is affecting racing.

* High Capacity Network access at race tracks will grow in importance, the faster the results can be delivered from the track, the better the teams can prepare their cars.

* With more and more applications moving from PCs into the Cloud the Network becomes ever so critical.

…and just because I like it, here’s the film again!

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